Friday, November 5, 2021

Vermont Man Sentenced for Federal Migratory Bird Violations

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Jeremiah Ruhl, 46, of Colchester, Vermont was sentenced to twelve months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III. Ruhl had previously pled guilty to the unlawful killing of a crow and woodcock without a license and unlawful possession of a turkey vulture without a permit. All three of these birds are “migratory birds” and protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Ruhl was also pled guilty to unlawfully possessing a Stevens .410 shotgun after having previously been convicted of a felony. Judge Sessions also ordered Ruhl to serve two years on federal supervised release after he is released from prison.

Ruhl previously pled guilty to these offenses in September 2019 and was referred to participate in the Federal Drug Court program in Burlington. In July 2021, Judge Sessions terminated Ruhl from Drug Court in light of multiple violations of release conditions, including drug use and dishonesty. Had Ruhl successfully completed Drug Court he would have been sentenced to time served.

Ruhl faced a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 for the possession of a firearm-by-a-felon violation. For the Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations, Ruhl faced a maximum of six months imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for each of the three counts.

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Ophardt stated: “This case represents a successful joint investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, state game wardens, and federal wildlife agents to vigorously investigate and prosecute federal wildlife crimes that undermine state and federal efforts to protect the precious natural resources of our beautiful State.”

Colonel Jason Batchelder of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department stated: “Thanks

to our dedicated State Game Warden investigators, and federal agents and prosecutors working

in concert, crimes against the natural resources of Vermont and migratory bird species we share

with neighboring states, will see an appropriate response.”

This case was investigated by the State Game Wardens in the Law Enforcement Division of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Colchester Police Department, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella. Ruhl is represented by Steven Barth of the Federal Public Defenders Office.